Skip to content

    Health & Pregnancy

    Font Size

    How to Pick a Summer Camp

    There are more than 8,000 summer camps in the U.S., offering everything from canoeing to computers. Take some time with your kids to decide which summer camp is right for them and how long they should be away from home.
    WebMD Feature

    Nearly every successful summer-camp experience requires lots and lots of sunblock, a flashlight, and a bathing suit. But long before you cross things off your child's packing list, self-evaluation of your goals will go a long way to ensuring that you pick the right summer camp for your child, say camp experts.

    "A good camp experience begins with self-evaluation," says Jeffrey Solomon, MSW, executive director of the National Camp Association (NCA), a non-profit organization. "Parents need to ask themselves what their goals are for their child. There are so many types of camps out there -- sports, arts, nature, computers -- that to make the right choice requires knowing exactly what you want from a camp."

    Solomon says that some of the questions parents need to ask include how much time they want their child to spend away from home, how much the camp stay will cost, and whether a general-interest camp or a specialty camp that focuses on a specific activity is needed.

    "There are more than 8,000 summer camps in the U.S.," says Solomon. "That's great because it means there is a camp for every need and every interest. But setting goals can very quickly narrow the choices down to a reasonable number to deal with."

    Some summer camps cater to children with special medical needs such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

    "When a medical disorder is involved, such as ADHD, diabetes, or depression, the parents may want to talk to their doctor to determine whether the child's symptoms require a special-needs camp. Sometimes, if the symptoms are not severe, a general camp may be the better option."

    The NCA's web site, at , has a free, question-and-answer feature that allows parents to profile their needs, goals, and other specifics such as camp location and cost. The web site matches the parent profile with summer camps that most closely meet the specifications.

    How Long to Stay at Summer Camp?

    Most experts agree that children under 7 are too young for sleep-away camp. And a general-interest camp is best for children under 10.

    1 | 2 | 3 | 4

    Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

    Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
    what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

    Today on WebMD

    hand circling date on calendar
    Track your most fertile days.
    woman looking at ultrasound
    Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
    Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
    The signs to watch out for.
    pregnant woman in hospital
    Are there ways to do it naturally?
    slideshow fetal development
    pregnancy first trimester warning signs
    What Causes Bipolar
    Woman trying on dress in store
    pregnant woman
    Woman looking at pregnancy test
    calendar and baby buggy
    dark chocolate squares